The Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) is the City's inclusionary housing program that requires residential developments with 10 or more units that receive City Council approval for an entitlement, a city land purchase or financial assistance to provide a portion of the units as affordable housing.
First adopted in 2007, the latest revision, updated in April 2021, addresses issues of displacement in neighborhoods seeing rapid development and outlines Community Preservation areas in communities where there is evidence of displacement based on housing market and demographic changes.
The 2021 ARO
The revised ARO was adopted by City Council in April 2021 and will take full effect on Oct. 1, 2021. The 2021 ARO expands off-site options that target Chicagoans in the greatest need for affordable rental housing, while also focusing on anti-displacement measures that allow long-time residents to remain in their communities and benefit from redevelopment. The revised ARO also encourages the production of more affordable and family-sized units, while also maintaining much-needed funding for current programs that support thousands of low-income renters.
Additionally, the revised ARO:
- Allows off-site units to be built in any part of the city lacking in affordable housing or threatened with displacement
- Requires that if the triggering development is in a transit-oriented development (TOD) zone the off-site units must also be in a TOD zone
- Adds mandates and incentives for developers to create deeply affordable and family-sized affordable units
- Increases accessibility standards and adopt preferential leasing for tenants who need an accessible unit
- Requires income averaging at 60% and 50% area median income (AMI) tiers to accommodate more low-income earners
- Adds a 100% AMI tier when matched with subsidies for the lowest-income earners
The 2021 ARO is the result of an 18-month process that began in October 2019 with a public call for applications for an Inclusionary Housing Task Force, which published its report in September 2020. In addition to the task force, DOH solicited input from focus groups, public comment, a City Council subject matter hearing, and months of follow-up meetings with developers and advocates to inform the proposal as introduced.
Income Limits and Long-Term Affordability
All owner-occupied affordable units under the ARO are price restricted by the Chicago Housing Trust (Housing Trust). Owner-occupied units must be priced to be affordable to households earning no more than 100% of Area Median Income (AMI) (if Option 1 is chosen under Subsection (F)(3)) or no more than 80% AMI (if Option 2 is chosen). Note that the ARO allows households earning up to 120% of AMI to purchase the units. Rental units may be leased by households earning up to the targeted AMI for the unit. A unit counted as a 60% AMI unit, for example, may be leased by households earning up to 60% of the AMI. There is no income minimum.
Click here to review the maximum monthly rent and income limits tables. The charts are updated annually.
Units built under the ARO are required to remain affordable for a period of 30 years.
See a list of rental properties made available through the ordinance and other city programs. To receive updates on for-sale units as they become available, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to the Housing Trust mailing list.